Harrowsmith Jr. – Sunrise Bumblebee Tomato

Garden writer, Emma Biggs, explains why she took a shine to this brilliant little tomato

It’s so pretty, with its bee-like stripes. That’s what got me hooked. Then I tasted it…

I got my first Sunrise Bumblebee tomato plant from my friend and tomato mentor, Linda Crago, at her Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm. Linda said, “Try it.” I took it home and planted it.

I fell in love with this amazing tomato variety as soon as I saw the tomatoes forming on that plant in my garden. They are yellow, with pink marbling and yellow stripes.

A short while after “discovering” these beautiful tomatoes in my garden, I was looking through a seed catalogue and found a write-up about Fred Hempel from Artisan Seeds, the breeder behind Sunrise Bumblebee, as well as its sibling bumblebee tomatoes.

Hempel is a Californian scientist-turned tomato breeder. He has bred and continues to breed amazing tomatoes. He created Blush, Lucky Tiger, Green Tiger, Pink Tiger, and many more, including the bumblebee series. The bumblebee series includes: Pink Bumblebee, Purple Bumblebee, and, of course, Sunrise Bumblebee. All bumblebee tomatoes share great taste and pretty stripes.

In the Kitchen

I don’t know how you could pick these tomatoes and not eat them all on the spot. They are beautiful and so tempting. I recommend using them fresh; why cook something so beautiful and ruin the look of it? If you don’t eat them in the garden, throw them into a salad – my favourite is a Caprese salad with fresh basil. Yum!

The Artisan Seeds website describes the taste of Sunrise Bumblebee as “…bright, sweet and tropical.” I agree!

Grow Your Own

Sunrise Bumblebee tomato seeds are now available through many seed sources such as Baker Creek Heirloom Vegetable Seeds, West Coast Seeds, Burpee, Johnny’s Selected Seeds ,Hawthorn Farm Organic Seeds , and, of course, Artisan Seeds, where it was bred.

This fantastic tomato variety is a must in the gardens of all tomato lovers.

Emma Biggs
Emma Biggs

Emma Biggs is a 13-year-old gardener and garden communicator. Emma raised over 130 tomato varieties in her Toronto garden in 2018—gardening in containers, in straw bales on a driveway, in a neighbour’s yard, in wicking beds under a walnut tree, and on the garage roof. Her garden is the source of many of her stories—and the source of produce that she sells in her neighborhood. In 2015, at the age of nine, Emma co-authored of Grow Gardeners, Kid-Tested Gardening with Children with her father and started helping him at garden talks and workshops. For the past couple of years, Emma has been giving her own talks at libraries, seed exchanges, garden clubs, and garden shows. Emma is the co-host of The Garage Gardeners Radio Show. She hosts kids gardening videos on the From Dirt to Dishes gardening channel on YouTube. Her latest book, Gardening with Emma, helps kids find the fun in gardening (and helps adults remember how much fun gardening is!)


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Posted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2021
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